20 things we learned from Patriots training camp week one

It’s hard not to be overly optimistic after just the first week of training camp as the positive news has been flowing from Foxboro. Here are the most interesting things we’ve learned, 10 for the offense and 10 for the defense.

  1. Brandon Lloyd has continued to dominate and it’s a pretty safe bet that as long as he stays healthy him and Brady are going to torch the NFL this year.
  2. Stevan Ridley looks like he’ll be the lead running back for whatever that means. Shane Vereen hasn’t flashed much and appears in danger of falling behind undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden.
  3. Julian Edelman is a receiver and looks ready to take on a bigger role if called upon.
  4. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. Enjoy it folks, these days won’t last forever where we get to cheer for one of the greatest QBs of all time in his prime.
  5. There are questions about the offensive line but they’re starting to gel even without Waters, Mankins or Vollmer. No question they need those guys back, but it’s good to see the guys who are in there starting to make strides, including Donald Thomas and Marcus Cannon.
  6. Doesn’t sound like Dan Koppen is having a good camp. I think if he was to make the team it would have to be as the starting center, and injuries could still play a role in that, but it doesn’t look good for him.
  7. Hernandez has looked uncoverable so far. Maybe Gronk’s monster 2011 was motivation for him? As always, needs to stay healthy.
  8. Wes Welker is still Wes Welker. Enjoy it. This is very possibly his last season in New England.
  9. Ryan Mallet has been up and down, it should be really interesting to see how he and Hoyer compete in the preseason games.
  10. Looks like the jury is still out on punt and kick returners and that scares me a bit.
  11. Chandler Jones has exceeded just about everyone’s expectations, looking dominant at defensive end. Maybe Mike Mayock and Mike Lombardi do know what they’re talking about.
  12. Dont’a Hightower though is the rookie that really has everyone fired up. He’s been fast and aggressive and better than expected in some coverage responsibilities. It looks like he’ll fit in immediately, probably at strong side linebacker.
  13. Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace have been surprise stand outs thus far in camp. Both were facing the proverbial “make or break” season and it looks like both are making a push to make it. Cunningham especially.
  14. Ras-I Dowling is still healthy and starting to look more and more comfortable out there. If it clicks for him it will really open up a lot of options in the secondary. His length can be a real asset.
  15. The secondary has still looked shaky at times over the past week, though we have to remember the offense they’re going up against.
  16. The front seven however has looked really good. They’ve been rotating a lot of different looks, but they’ve consistently be causing mayhem. The addition of Jonathan Fanene has looked like a good one so far.
  17. Between Trevor Scott, Cunningham, Jones, and Ninkovich (currently nursing an injury) it’s hard to say Andre Carter is a lock to come back. Injuries could be the big factor here, but I’d still love to see Carter back for his leadership alone.
  18. Between Fanene, Brace and Brandon Deaderick it will be interesting to see what kind of interior rush the Pats will be able to generate.
  19. Tavon Wilson has worked in as a third safety, including some nickel linebacker. So far it sounds like he could make an impact.
  20. The Pats have been blessed so far with no major confirmed injuries. I think the new CBA rules might be a help in that department. Let’s hope it continues, nothing can derail a positive start to camp faster.
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